Existing infrastructure could be used to implement a carbon capture and storage (CCS) system capable of slashing Scotland’s carbon emissions by a fifth, researchers have claimed.
Scottish Carbon Capture & Storage (SCCS) – a partnership of the British Geological Survey, the University of Edinburgh and others – added that the matrix could in time be expanded to take carbon from across Europe by ship.
Moves to create a thriving CCS industry in the UK were dealt a major blow last year when the government scrapped a £1bn funding stream.
But in a report this week, SCCS said existing transport and storage infrastructure could be used to transport carbon from central and eastern Scotland to storage sites in the North Sea.
“Although small by European standards, this capture cluster would be significant for Scottish emissions, realistically able to halve Scottish industrial emissions and reduce total Scottish emissions from all sources by circa 20%,” said the report.
The study added that existing production platforms could be converted to take CO2 as oil and gas fields depleted, and that ships could bring carbon in from across Europe.
Scottish CO2 hub
Source: Scottish Carbon Capture & Storage
SCCS director and University of Edinburgh professor Stuart Haszeldine said: “The beauty of this proposal is its flexibility and adaptability.
“From a small start capturing emissions in Scotland with transport and storage based on existing assets, the system can be progressively expanded to receive CO2 from England and Europe using shipping, instead of large expensive pipes. By the early 2020s this can achieve a key milestone in the deployment of CCS – the establishment of commercial storage operations in the North Sea – with a whole new industry following from that.
“A critical point is that while re-evaluation and consideration of CCS options is underway, it is essential than no decommissioning of potentially relevant pipelines, boreholes or offshore facilities is agreed by the UK Government or the Oil & Gas Authority.”